We humans live our lives interacting with our environment every day. Humans are part of the ecosystem with other creatures, and we all live in the midst of rapid and global environmental changes.
Understanding the complex linkages between nature and humans, and the social environment is key when dealing with environmental and health issues. In other words, we should learn from history that social environments greatly affected natural environments, one example being pollution diseases． Also, we have come to realize that living environments, such as food, housing, transport, and urban planning, have growing impacts on our health. While our lifestyle affects our well-being, our lifestyle is heavily affected by our work patterns and socio-economic factors.
We are aware of the big influence of social and environmental factors such as poverty and aging on public health. The world is also facing increasing challenges of environmental and health hazards ranging from ozone layer destruction, global warming, emerging infectious diseases, and chemical pollution, that require global efforts to manage and find solutions.
In the modern world, the environment has a considerable impact on our well-being, and it could trigger health problems for people of all ages. Therefore it is essential to study the natural environment and social structure from broad perspectives, and we believe it is highly significant that the Center for Environmental and Health Sciences is founded at Hokkaido University which offers university-wide programs to advance sustainability as its critical mission.
“Japan Environment & Children’s Study (JECS)”, funded by the Ministry of Environment, is one of our core projects and is a collaboration between Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Graduate School of Education, Graduate School of Health Sciences; Sapporo Medical University; Asahikawa Medical University; and The Japan Red Cross of Hokkaido University of Nursing. “The Hokkaido Study of Environment and Children’s Health”, co-granted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, is another pioneering project. In addition to the above, we conduct various research projects to address the linkages between natural and social environments and public health. Please check “Research projects” on this website for further information.
We continue to expand our studies on “Environment and Health” and outreach our activities to the public, by collaborating with the other institutions. Also, we will work with graduate education to promote advanced research on the environment and health. We would appreciate your continued support and cooperation in our efforts to improve the quality of human life and to contribute to the further development of Hokkaido University.
Taro YAMAUCHI, PhD
Professor and Director,
Center for Environmental and Health Sciences